Macworld UK’s Jonny Evans
reports today that UK-based programming house Coderus has announced MacDX, an API, or application programming interface, that helps Mac game developers more easily convert PC games that depend on Microsoft’s DirectX software.
Coderus is the same company that did the recent Mac conversion of Wipeout 2097, a Mac game with PlayStation roots published in the UK by Virtual Programming Ltd. The company is headed up by Mark Thomas. Thomas told Evans that much of the effort made to convert games to the PC focuses on making DirectX calls work in the Mac operating system. While DirectX is ubiquitous on the PC platform, especially for games, Microsoft has never converted the technology to work on the Mac.
MacDX isn’t going to appear on your Mac as a piece of software that lets you magically run Windows games at full speed on your Mac. It’s being offered to developers as a way of speeding the process of converting Windows titles to the Macintosh platform.
Evans drew an analogy between Microsoft’s DirectX technology and Apple’s own Game Sprockets technology — a defunct API supported in Mac OS 9. DirectX gives Windows programmers a standard methodology for managing the display of hardware-accelerated 3D graphics, video game controller support, sound, network multiplayer capabilities and many other fundamental aspects of game programming that developers would otherwise have to craft their own solutions or license third-party solutions to provide.
The bottom line is that Coderus is billing MacDX as a way to bring DirectX-dependent games to the Macintosh faster than they’ve been able to before, with a lower learning curve for Windows developers as well. Where this technology may come in particularly handy is with future games that come from the Xbox platform, Microsoft’s entry into the video game console market. As the name implies, the Xbox’s programming roots run deep in DirectX.
Coderus indicated that MacDX supports both Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X, and supports “a wide range” of hardware from Rev. B iMacs on forward.